Federal judge grants nationwide injunction blocking crackdown on sanctuary cities

A federal judge in Chicago has issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration's crackdown on sanctuary cities.
By David Sims | Oct 10, 2017
In a huge blow to the Trump administration's attempt to crack down on illegal immigration, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Friday that the Justice Department cannot withhold grant money from so-called sanctuary cities that do not give the federal government advance notice when a suspected illegal immigrant is to be released from jail or give immigration officials access to local correctional facilities.

In a 41-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber wrote that Attorney General Jeff Sessions probably exceeded his authority when he imposed the new conditions on receipt of funds awarded through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program, which was created by Congress in 2005.

In his ruling, the judge largely agreed with arguments advanced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who filed suit against Sessions over the new conditions, saying Congress had not provided explicit authorization to allow the attorney general to impose new requirements on the grant program.

The court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the new requirements from being implemented while the case makes its way through the appellate courts. And because the judge reasoned that the legal question involving the Attorney General's statutory authority would be the same in any jurisdiction, the injunction applies not only to the city of Chicago, but to the entire nation.

Judge Leinenweber said the city had shown its relationship with the immigrant community would suffer "irreparable harm" if it had to comply with the new requirements.

"I want to be clear, this is not just a victory for the city of Chicago," said Mayor Emanuel at a news conference Friday, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. "It is a win for cities, counties and states across the country who also filed amicus briefs on behalf of our lawsuit, and also the business leaders who also stepped forward on our lawsuit."

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